Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Hypothetical Girl” as Want to Read:
The Hypothetical Girl
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Hypothetical Girl

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  206 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Love meets technology with a dash of quirk in this collection of highly original short stories
An aspiring actress meets an Icelandic Yak farmer on a matchmaking Web site. An online forum for cancer support turns into a love triangle for an English professor, a Canadian fisherman, and an elementary school teacher living in Japan. A deer and a polar bear flirt via Skype. I
Paperback, 237 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by Other Press (first published January 1st 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Hypothetical Girl, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Hypothetical Girl

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  206 ratings  ·  53 reviews

More filters
Sort order
John Roche
Oct 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the hands of Elizabeth Cohen, these short stories capture both the world we live in and the virtual world we dwell in, particularly regarding the search for love and identity online. I ended up falling in love---with Cohen's richly drawn characters, her unique, spot-on voice and these very entertaining plot lines that, for better or worse, hold a mirror up to who we are and who we present ourselves to be. A great read.
Oct 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a marvelous book: poignant, witty, tender, humane, honest, and very playful and clever with language and literary references. Though all the stories deal with internet relationships of one kind of another, they are in no way trivial; the internet becomes a trope for deep romantic longing and wishful thinking. Who doesn't know these feelings, and who, by now, doesn't know the crazy fascination exerted by social media, the way they reach tentacles into our everyday lives and psyches? The H ...more
Aug 13, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Individually, the stories are wonderful, charming, modern and speak to the way we live and love in this day and age. As a whole, the collection starts to feel repetitive. There is too much similarity among the stories and toward the end, they become indistinct.

Still, individually, great, great stuff here. I like this writer's work.
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
This collection of short stories starts off with several about online dating. They are actually a bit formulaic and repetitive. Towards the end, the stories morph away from strictly online dating, but everything is still focused on relationships, or mainly the dissolution of them, and I found the gimmicks tiresome. On top of that, soul patches are described with affection TWICE. So gotta go..
Bookish Jen
Finding love has always been fraught with challenges, and in our modern age of on-line dating it’s become even more perplexing. In Elizabeth Cohen’s collection of short stories in her latest release The Hypothetical Girl people turn to the Internet to find true love.

Well, replacing face to face contact with digital dating doesn’t exactly make things easier in the romance department. In fact, it often makes things harder and hearts do get broken as Cohen conveys in this mostly satisfying book.

Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of short stories by Elizabeth Cohen explores online dating – from the hook-up sites to the more serious find-a-spouse sites. Each story introduces a new character searching for love or companionship via online dating sites with very mixed results. “People Who Live Far, Far Away” focuses on online dating as a means to escape a less than ideal real life. In “Love, Really,” the language describing the rush of emotions and giddiness of a new relationship is framed by two middle-aged ...more
Nancy McKibben
Sep 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who like romance, humor
The Hypothetical Girl
By Elizabeth Cohen

This book consists of a series of short stories about online dating, which is a mystery to me, since I’m married and predate it. The first one, “Animal Dancing”, is charming - a woman’s fond hopes that this mysterious other with whom she has communicated will prove to be exactly what he seems online. Will an in-person encounter wreck the illusions of both parties?

Other stories are darker, but they bump along like real life - sometimes you win, sometimes you
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Hypothetical Girl by Elizabeth Cohen is a collection of short stories of love, identity and internet.

Each character is looking for love online, usually a transformative love that will solve everything and bring brilliance to the mundane. They each want so very desperately to meet and connect with someone else online.

There’s a hint of the bizarre running through the book, but isn’t meeting and falling in love kind of bizarre anyway? Cohen’s characters pretend to be Icelandic yak farmers whil
May 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book was like talking to your best friend the day after a first date and having just the perfect words to describe what happened. You know, we've all been there. Had a lousy date, wanted to find a silver lining out of what was a ridiculous way to have spent an evening and always wanted to give your best friend something to laugh about. I wish Cohen could have scripted some of my post date mortems. Cohen's stories made me reflect (and cringe) about some of my past dates and appreciat ...more
Torunn Lyngroth Aberle

This is book is wonderfully written, with characters who are yearning to love, and be loved. In some of the short stories the characters, some of whom are animals, are being kept apart, because of the many odd and often unstated rules that are applied to potential romantic and sexual relationships. It is a little bit like a modern "Pride and Prejudice." Cohen's stories are beautiful, haunting, honest, and, of course, often sad, given the fact that these are love stories.

I found myself getting
Emma Kerry
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

There is something for everyone in this short story collection centering on on-line dating. Obviously, some stories resonated more than others, but there was enough in every one to make them enjoyable. Anyone who has ever dated, whether online or otherwise, will find this collection amusing. Cohen’s tone is perfect and made it all the more enjoyable.

Like most short story collections, this book is perfect for dipping in and out of. Each story can be read in one sitting, making it the ideal book t
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
I simply did not like the writing style of this compilation and was not really impressed with the theme of them as well.

It was funny at times and some of the stories actually had meaning such as "The Hypothetical Girl" and "Love Quiz." Another point is that the stories went from really mundane to really strange in a manic way which was not collective. The latter half of the book was definitely more enjoyable.

There were some great word choices overall which was fantastic but other than that I ca
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before we begin, I would like to note: This is my first time reviewing a short story collection! How exciting!

The Hypothetical Girl is a collection of stories by Elizabeth Cohen that center around the idea of online dating. The characters are undeniably realistic. They change their profiles to make themselves seem more interesting, they day dream about this date finally being the one, and most of all they—just like those of us here in the “real world”—are all searching for true connection to ano
Emma  Kaufmann
Nov 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This author is brilliant. How can she write about mostly badly ending internet romances with such humor and insight and make it all seem so fresh and appealing? It does make me thank God I am married and don't have to navigate amongst the goatee wearing sharks and three legged octopi that makes up the dating pool.....Highly recommended
Tan Clare
Oct 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Bite-sized short stories about modern dating told in a quirky manner. Yes after a while some of them get a bit repetitive, despite how their outcomes differ. Thankfully the quirkiness manages to keep the reader interested enough.
This is going in the "unfinished" pile because there is no way I'm going to finish it. My Nook died last month, and I'm not going to get a chance to deal with it for the foreseeable future.

Good stories. A bit odd, but definitely fun.
Kaitlyn Affuso
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In recent years, there’s been the argument of print books vs. e-books. Those who embrace technology go toward e-readers, complementing its convenience and sleek structure. “But books are so much cozier,” print-lovers say. Well, in my hand, I held a supporting factor of both: The Hypothetical Girl by Elizabeth Cohen.
Its physical copy is small, hand-held and packed with Internet love stories gone wrong. This topic is blowing up recently. There is a matchmaker site for every kind of person, and
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
This collection of fifteen short stories (which I heard about via Goodreads then saw at the library) has been good jury duty reading, by which I mean it's light and easy enough that I could comfortably read it during breaks, even if several simultaneous conversations were happening around me. "Light and easy," though, isn't necessarily my favorite kind of short story, and I found myself wanting more interest, more weirdness, more challenge.

All the stories are about looking for love online, whic
Sophfronia Scott
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Cohen has written a smart and funny collection of stories that I would consider to be the "Sex & the City" of the online dating world. Her looking-for-love characters may not be as glamorous or as young as Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte, but they do have the same bittersweet vulnerability that made me want to root for their happy ending despite circumstances that seemed to be against every possibility for one. But that want pulled me through the book, story after story, a ...more
Matthew Jackson

This is one of the many books I discovered at the 2014 Frankfurt Buchmesse – The Hypothetical Girl, by Elizabeth Cohen. I have to show my appreciation to Other Press (the publisher of this collection of short stories), because I was actually given a free copy of the book when I stopped by their booth for a second time to show this book (and another, which will be reviewed soon) to KK as one of the new books I had discovered on my Friday at the fair.

This bo
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Cohen has put together fifteen short stories that all dwell on some aspect of love. While many of the stories deal with the pros and cons of online dating, they all go much deeper than that. You have Alana who finally finds the perfect man for her through an online website. The question is, should she risk meeting him and possibly having her heart broken because that's what happens in real life? Or should she keep him just out of reach, on the other side of computer screen, where they ...more
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own
Ok, let's start by saying that I am probably not this book's target audience. I'm not entirely sure who this books target audience is, but it's definitely not me. I grabbed it off the advanced readers cart because I thought it could be a fun, light read. But I got frustrated with it.

There were only three stories that I actually liked: Love, Really; Heart Food; and Dog People. And by liked maybe I mean didn't find anything horribly wrong with. I think writing a collection of short stories must be
Nov 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: friends and family
I am familiar with the writing style of this author because I took classes with her as an UnderGrad. I really liked the book. It had hints of places I've been to for example, "The Ground Round," which is mentioned in the first short story--knowing the smell and the look of the place makes it more fun to read and imagine what is going on. The hints of satire mixed with sarcasm and light [warm] heartedness makes for an easy read.

I love the fact that the book is based around online dating. Living
In this astute story collection, Elizabeth Cohen writes about dating in the digital age. Navigating various dating sites, creating a real or fabricated profile, various internet flirtations, anticipating actual meetings. In the opening story “Animal Dancing,” Cohen writes: “I am a giver. I am fun. I am interesting and I have spectacular eyes. Someone will find me. Someone will love me.” Would you take a chance on a potential long-distance relationship as described in “People Who Live Far, Far Aw ...more
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
Thank you, Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review

If you are a member of an internet dating website, there’s a 95% chance that you have lied about who you are. If not that, then the people you interact with are most certainly not entirely what they make themselves out to be.

That is exactly what this book of shorts is about. Love and lies in cyberspace.

Insanely funny and absolutely un-put-downable, I read this in one go. On the weird side, it had me guessing about who everyone of my
Dec 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of stories that are stretched over the frame of what feels to me like a thin preoccupation, which is online dating. Some of the stories don’t do much more than drop a character into a relationship that goes awry in a comic, Candice Bushnell kind of way. But others engage somewhat richer material—there are a couple that deal with caring for aged or sick parents, and others deal with children and how they can fit into a life and give it a kind of shape, meaning, or sense of fulfillmen ...more
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i read an ARC from book expo... i grabbed it because i loved the title and when i saw the description of the stories (all that online interaction!), i knew i needed this book.

i loved it. not every single bit of it, mind you - some stories resonated more with me, as will happen with any reader and any book. but there was enough in every story that made leaving each one a little sad. i don't know if this author has novels, i have to see, but i would read them.

women and men who want to connect. the
Aug 30, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm having trouble rating this collection. A few of these in isolation are excellent, but all of them at once is a fairly disheartening read, and I even made an effort to space them out in time. Basically every story is about fooling oneself or others about who you are and what you want from love, and also being disappointed in the person on the other end of the online exchange. Much of it rings true for dating, online or otherwise, but still... It seems excessively bleak. And, more importantly, ...more
Lydia Presley
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are single and an adult in this day and age, chances are you have either seriously checked out, flirted with, or used the services of some sort of online dating service. Elizabeth Cohen recognizes this modern-day trend and, in a series of short stories, outlines some of the sadder and more pitiful stories that can emerge from the online dating world. The Hypothetical Girl is a collection of short stories that is witty, funny, and sometimes painfully accurate in portraying life in the mode ...more
Aug 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The Hypothetical Girl is first time i didn't finish a collection of stories feeling aggravated. I finish one and am left feeling cheated. The stories are too short and i never got to love (or hate) the characters. Hypothetical Girl changed that. Each story was the perfect length and is organized around the central theme of searching for love in the online dating world. You see the up's, down's, mishaps and relatable thoughts we've all had when it comes to relationships. It's short and rewarding
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Why We Never Talk About Sugar
  • Flings
  • The Miniature Wife and Other Stories
  • Starting Over
  • Personal Statement
  • Christmas Pudding and Pigeon Pie
  • Fools
  • This Close
  • Spectacle: Stories
  • The Isle of Youth: Stories
  • Little Blue Lies
  • Island Fog
  • Inside Madeleine
  • The Last Chicken in America: A Novel in Stories
  • Why They Run the Way They Do
  • Don't Kiss Me: Stories
  • Beside Myself
  • Elegy Owed
See similar books…
Elizabeth Cohen is an Assistant Professor of English at SUNY Plattsburgh, where she serves as the fiction editor for the Saranac Review. Her memoir, The Family on Beartown Road (Random House, 2003), was a New York Times Notable Book, and her articles, stories, and poetry have appeared in SELF, MORE, Newsweek, People, New York Times Magazine, Salon, Tablet, and the Yale Review, among other publicat ...more
“Or maybe spring is the season of love and fall the season of mad lust. Spring for flirting but fall for the untamed delicious wild thing.” 76 likes
“Limerence is an obsessive, unrequited love. It is actually a disorder. A disease if you will.” 9 likes
More quotes…